While the pandemic has taken some of Kansas City's most beloved restaurants and businesses away from us, there are still new ones popping up around the city. The newest addition to Waldo is Jovito's Italian Cafe and Deli. Jovito's opened up on 74th and Wornall, previously occupied by One More Cup, and is serving paninis, grinders, pasta, salads, and more! When asked why move Jovito's to Waldo, owner Alex Fiorella said, "We grew up in the Waldo neighborhood and my mom has lived here for over twenty years. It just feels like home with all of our friends and family so close, and the bonds we have made within the neighborhood over the years. We wanted to bring great Italian food to the people of Waldo".
Fiorella owns Jovito's with his mother Leasa Caron. The vibe of Jovito's was just important to them as serving delicious food. Walking into Jovito's you'll find the walls and counters lined with pictures and artifacts that make you feel as if you have just walked into someone's home. You instantly smell fresh baked bread and various spices. Due to the pandemic, there are currently no indoor seating options and they are only offering carry-out. As I waited at the counter to place my to-go order, the phone was ringing off the hook.
There was not a moment between taking phone or in-person orders that the phone was not jumping to be answered. There was no shortage of a Friday night rush and by 6'oclock p.m. there was already a 45 minute wait. Once it was time to order, I got two meatball grinders and one with a side house salad. I am a firm believer that the meatball is a fair judgement of any Italian establishment and I love meatball grinders!
As I patiently waited for my order to be ready, it became clear that Jovito's already feels like part of the neighborhood. With each customer popping in and out, there was an exchange of how are you’s, how's the family, catching up from the last visit, and excitement to be back. My order was bagged and ready to go within 20 minutes. I flashed a smile, which of course couldn't be seen under my mask (old habits die hard), said thank you, and headed home to dig in!
Once I arrived home, the smells from inside Jovito's carried their way into my own home. As we sat down and opened our styrofoam containers, in it lay the grinder, a pickle, and a bag of potato chips. Continuing with the feeling of having a home cooked meal, the presentation fell right in line. There was no over-the-top presentation or intricate plating.
Taking a bite into my grinder, my eyes grew wide and my heart skipped a beat. Those meatballs are cooked and seasoned to absolute perfection. They were so tender and not overly sauced. The bread of the grinder was firm to hold but moist on the inside, never getting soggy. It was clear to me now why there was such a wait for the to-go orders and why Kansas City residents continue to come back. Fiorella knows how to keep his customers craving the feeling his food gives them. "I always make sure we do our best to keep our quality high and consistent. Having good food is important, but having consistently good food is the most important", said Fiorella. Jovito's is the newest addition to the Waldo family and it is making itself right at home.